March 21, 2014

Consignment Sale Shopping Tips

Since having Little Bear, consignment sales are my absolute favorite! I find the best deals, and I love not spending much money! After my very first sale, B (my husband) asked me how much I really saved. I knew I saved money, I just wasn't sure how much, so being the nerd that I am, I created a lovely spreadsheet with what I paid vs. what these items would've cost us if I had paid full price.

Full price: $380.00  |  What I paid: $143.00

What's not to love about a good deal?!?

So, now that I regularly go to consignment sales (which are typically held each fall and spring), I thought I would share a few tips. Initially I had no idea what I was doing, and felt a bit unprepared at my first sale, to say the least.

So, here are my tips for shopping a consignment sale:

What to wear:
  • Sneakers: Comfort, comfort, comfort. Those pretty little sandals you just bought? Don't even think about wearing them.
  • Cross body purse: Nothing heavy, less is best! Hands free is your goal.
  • Layers: If it's a fall sale and you're waiting outside at 6 AM, you may be cold! Once you're inside, it gets busy, and warm! Wear layers so you don't accidentally pass out and all your goodies get yanked from your bags (okay, I'm totally joking here, all those Mamas will run and help you, but please, just dress appropriately?!)
 What to bring:
  • Big bags: I suggest a few big bags, I love bringing a couple of my Thirty-One bags (some big sales have Ikea bags available for you to use, but be sure to come prepared if they don't!)
  • Laundry basket: At my first sale women had these and would push them around on the floor, my second sale I clued in and brought one, and it was so handy for those heavy items!
  • A friend: It's always more fun going to a sale with a friend! 
  • Payment: Some sales may not take your American Express card, others take a personal check, be sure to find out in advance.
  • Snack: A small granola bar or juice box is highly recommended. You'll need that burst of energy!

Other tips:
  • Top items: Think about what you want or need, make a list! Is there a specific toy, stroller, clothes, or shoe size you need for your child/children? Then go to that area of the sale first.
  • Facebook: Like the sale site on Facebook to get involved, and see photos of previous sales, it also will give you an idea of what to expect at their sale. Which leads me to my next tip...
  • Avoid entrance fees: Volunteer! Some sales charge a fee for early shopping (typically on a Friday night), or a 1/2 price entry fee on a regular day. If you want to avoid the fee, you can volunteer for the sale, and then shop the pre-sale, which grants you access to everything, minus the crowds! At my last sale, they had Facebook friends passes for the first 50 guests, so I signed up, and got B and I in for free (it would've cost us $40 just to get in!) If there are still fees and you want a better discount, consider the last day which is usually 1/2 price day on all items.
  • Kids: I don't recommend bringing your child, unless you have no other option. Some sales don't allow children either. Personally, I can't imagine trying to work through crowds with a stroller or have Little Bear running off on me. Now, if you have an older child who can and are willing to help? Bring them! 

Your first sale may not be your favorite, but in my experience, you will learn from experience, and each sale will be better than the last. I must say, I've been hooked since my first sale!

Ready to start shopping? Find a sale in your area here.

Do you have any tips for shopping at consignment sales? What's the best item you ever bought at a sale?

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